Culture: March 2012 Archives

standupbanner.pngAmericans will rally in 140 cities across the nation at noon tomorrow, Friday, March 23, 2012, to protest the Obamacare HHS mandate requiring nearly all private health insurance plans to cover "all FDA-approved prescription contraceptive drugs and devices, surgical sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs," overriding an employer's moral convictions.

Tulsa's rally will be held at LaFortune Park, 5801 S. Yale Ave. Speakers will include Tulsa constitutional attorney Leah Farish. In 2005, Farish received Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Law Project's Mary Beth Tinker Award for her successful defense of the right of a Muslim high school student in Muskogee to wear a headscarf at a public school.

Dozens of pro-life and religious liberty organizations have joined forces to organize this nationwide event, including the Pro-Life Action League, Concerned Women for America, and the Becket Fund for Religous Liberty.

Social liberals often complain that social conservatives want to use government power to impose their views on everyone else. As the Obamacare HHS mandate demonstrates, it's the other way around: Lefties want to use government to force everyone to conform to their moral judgments. We need to stand up for religious liberty if we want to preserve it.

FearAnIarthair.JPGI want to call your attention to an excellent essay on the excellent blog Fear an Iarthair (that's Irish for "Man of the West"), entitled "What is conservatism?"

This brief essay will not take you long to read -- five minutes or so -- but it is one you will want to re-read and ponder, possibly even memorize certain passages. The author says that it is "not quite done," the beginnings of a work in progress on the differences between conservatism and libertarianism, but it seems fully baked to me.

Some quotes to entice you to read the whole thing:

In the end, though, Conservatism is less a laundry-list of political points than an approach to life and to governance that presupposes certain truths, certain ideas....

Conservatism, you might say, is the practice, perhaps the reflexive practice, of prudence, the prudential working-out of some basic ideas about the Divine and Man....

Conservatives might differ on exactly what the role of government should be or what the rewards and perks of governing should be, but they never really doubt that government is a necessary, normal, inevitable, and even Divinely ordained facet of human existence....

If, then, Conservatives are generally people who believe in the Divine and divinely-ordained concepts of right and wrong, they necessarily believe, necessarily presuppose, that Man has certain inherent rights. They also think that if government is part of the Divine Order, then it must have a purpose and it must, too, have bounds....

Government is Divinely ordained, but so are limits to government's role in human life (and this is explained at great length in Lex, Rex). The Conservative abhors lawlessness, but despises tyranny, at the same time acknowledging that human nature being what it is and human limits being what they are, the perfect balance between too little and too much government will not be achieved in this world....

The Conservative approaches the prospect of changing long-established practice and custom, not with hubris, but with humility and respect. This does not mean that the Conservative reflexively opposes all change; he knows that a society must be capable of prudent changes to survive and thrive. Nevertheless, change must be thoughtful and prudent, not hasty, not emotional, not sweeping aside the whole of existing society. The Conservative knows, deep in his bones, that it is all too possible for the cure to be worse than the disease and it is probably better to put up with some small, bearable grievances than to risk catastrophe for the sake of quickly implementing wholesale change, the consequences of which are very hard, if not impossible, to foresee and manage....

The essayist notes that much of what he says in this essay is found in succinct form in the Declaration of Independence.

The essay offers links to more food for thought: Edmund Burke's writings on the American and French Revolutions, Samuel Rutherford's Lex Rex, and Russell Kirk's list of ten conservative principles.

His "about" page is worth reading, too, for its thoughts on Western Civilization, education, leadership, martial arts, and barbecue.

MEND marks 25 years

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mend_logo.gifEarlier this evening, I attended the annual fundraising banquet for MEND Medical Clinic and Pregnancy Resource Center. MEND was founded in 1987 to provide pregnant women in crisis pregnancies in the Tulsa area with the resources they need to say "yes" to the new life growing within.

In 2011, MEND worked with over 1,500 clients, and provided tens of thousands of diapers, infant and maternity clothes, baby food and formula. MEND's clinic conducted 278 ultrasounds, and of 226 pregnancies confirmed through ultrasounds, 204 clients chose life. MEND accomplishes much with a small staff and a small budget. They are happy to receive gently used maternity and baby clothing and equipment, but their greatest needs are for volunteers and financial support, so that they can expand the number of women they can help.

According to their website, MEND can help with limited ultra sound, limited STD testing, confidential counseling, childbirth and parenting classes, adoption referrals, medical, legal, and housing referrals, maternity and baby clothes, baby furniture, diapers, formula, and baby food, abortion information and education, and support groups.

The MEND wish list includes $3,400 to buy a new outdoor sign for the facility, $1,300 to cover the cost of pregnancy tests, $750 / month to rent a billboard to advertise MEND to women in need of help. It also includes 30 committed volunteers: Spanish speakers, client mentors, client advocates, and clerical and computer help in the office.

Contrary to the caricatures of the pro-abortion industry, pregnancy resource centers are there to help women for the long haul, providing support and encouragement through pregnancy and after the baby is born. At the same time, they offer help and support to those hurting from abortions in their past.

There was a special acknowledgment of recently retired cofounder and director Nancy Roe, who spoke about the founding of MEND, how it was inspired in part by Bernard Nathanson's film "Silent Scream" and her own experience helping a young woman in a crisis pregnancy and the sense that God was calling her to respond with action.

Nancy Roe's successor as executive director is Forrest Cowan. He noted the incongruity of being a man in an organization with an overwhelmingly female staff, but the situation has already brought opportunities for him to talk with the young men who sometimes come along with women to the clinic. Many times what makes a pregnancy a crisis is the absence of a man to support and care for the mother and the baby. While it isn't MEND's core mission to address the deficit of male leadership, commitment, and responsibility, that deficit is one of the reasons a place like MEND is needed.

A highlight of the evening was a live pre-natal ultrasound. MEND Medical Director Dr. Matthew Stevens and his assistant were in a partitioned room with the mom-to-be, while the images were shown on big screens at the front of the room. It brought back happy memories of seeing the ultrasounds of our three children to see this little one wiggle and kick, and to see and hear its tiny heart beating.

I was pleased to see State Rep. Pam Peterson, who served on the MEND board prior to her election to the legislature and who has authored many pro-life bills, including the heartbeat bill in the current session; State Sen. Brian Crain, who is the lead sponsor for the personhood bill; and Rogers County Republican vice chairman Jason Carini, who is a candidate for State House District 23, a seat that is open because Rep. Sue Tibbs is term-limited. The political aspect of the pro-life cause is important, but these politicians understand the vital needs filled by an organization like MEND, which is there to provide direct assistance to women in crisis.

It was also encouraging to read the names of companies in the list of donors: Apache Corp., Thermal Windows, Warren Clinic/St. Francis Health System, Dixie Moseley Interiors, KCFO, Improving Lives Counseling Services, Coreslab Structures, Helmerich & Payne, Paradigm Construction & Engineering, Smith/Latta, Trinity Chemical., Glenpool Flowers, Heart's Desire Baskets and Gayle Falconer, and Jim Weems, Doug & Norma Latta, musician Faith Kelley, and graphic designer Anna Rose were acknowledged with special thanks for their in-kind contributions to the fundraiser.

Eight churches were on the list of donors, demonstrating their commitment to the sanctity of human life: Christ Presbyterian Church, First United Methodist Church of Tulsa, Grace Lutheran, Kirk of the Hills, Northside Christian Church, Trinity Lutheran, Tulsa Christian Fellowship, Victory Christian Center.

If you believe in the sanctity of human life, I urge you not only to vote your values on election day, but also to get involved with MEND. Give -- you can sign up online for a one-time contribution or a recurring contribution. Encourage your church to support MEND as part of reaching the local "mission field." Volunteer to be a mentor. Pray for the women who come to MEND, for women who in crisis pregnancies who are looking for support but have yet to find a place like MEND, and for the staff and volunteers who work with them.

MEND Medical Clinic / Pregnancy Resource Center is located at 6216 S. Lewis, Suite 100, Tulsa, OK 74136, 918-745-6000.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Culture category from March 2012.

Culture: February 2012 is the previous archive.

Culture: April 2012 is the next archive.

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